Since the 1970’s Christian health professionals committed to living out the gospel through healthcare among the poor have been exploring what that looks like in practice. While the dialogue continues within our community, the following are characteristics that should find expression in Christian service in healthcare.
Supremacy of Christ: Honoring the Lordship of Christ and submitting ourselves to his authority and person.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” (Colossians 1: 15-19)
Prophetic Voice: Challenging God’s people to choose to go against the status quo: to be incarnational, sacrificial, and to enter into the suffering of the poor.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear-guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58: 6-11)
Wholistic Care: Encouraging excellent, compassionate health care, ministering to spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of people and their communities.
“I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Reconciliation: Restoring right relationships to God, to one another, and to all of creation, addressing barriers that commonly divide, including race, social status, and economic oppression.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
Justice: Working toward God’s kingdom, setting all things right for the oppressed, the forgotten, and particularly the marginalized in our health care system.
“…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)
Partnership: Listening to and working alongside churches, patients, our communities, and one another.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2: 1-4)